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RFID and IOT: An overview

Sabita Maharjan
Simula Research Laboratory
University of Oslo
Sep. 2010

This talk presents an overview of RFID, its applications, IOT,
RFID anti-collision protocols and the security issues

RFID Overview, Applications

and Anti-collision Protocols

Internet of Things

Security Issues

RFID technologies have revolutionized
the asset tracking industry
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) devices are wireless
microchips used for tagging objects for automated identification

RFID can identify objects wirelessly without line-of-sight

RFID systems consist of a reading device

called a reader, and one or more tags

The reader is a powerful device with ample

memory and computational resources

Tags vary significantly in their computational capabilities

Passive tags have limited computational capacity, no ability to sense

the channel, detect collisions, and communicate with each other

They respond only at reader commands

Semi-passive tags have an on-board power source that can be

used to energize their microchip

Active tags can sense the channel and detect collisions

Passive tags Semi-passive tags Active tags

RFID devices may take different forms

*RFID systems operate in the Industry, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band that
5 ranges from 100 KHz to 5.8 GHz
The application of RFID spans several areas

RFID technologies have revolutionized the asset tracking industry,

with applications ranging from automated checkout to monitoring
the medication intakes of elderlies

RFID is being used in proximity and credit cards

RFID is used in
Proximity Cards

RFID is now offered in all

major credit cards in US

RFID has been extensively used
for automobile Ignition Keys

The applications of RFID has a much wider scope

Many countries are issuing

RFID enabled passports

Also in use are the PASS cards and

enhanced drivers licenses with EPC
(Electronic Product Code)

Not Really Mad

RFID can also be used

for tracking Cattle

RFID Anti-Collision Protocols

Collision due to simultaneous tag responses
is one of the key issues in RFID systems

Tag collision results in wastage of bandwidth, energy, and

increases identification delays.

RFID readers must use an

anti-collision protocol to

minimize collisions and hence

help reduce identification delays
The tag collision problem

Classification of Existing Anti-collision protocols

SDMA : Space Division

Multiple Access

TDMA : Time Division

Multiple Access

FDMA : Frequency Division

Multiple Access

CDMA : Code Division

Multiple Access

TDMA protocols constitute the largest

group of anti-collision protocols
RFID anti-collision protocols are often categorized as
Aloha based protocols and tree based protocols
Aloha based tag reading protocols
Pure Aloha (PA)
PA with Muting, PA with Slow Down, PA with Fast Mode,
Pure Aloha with Fast Mode and Muting, PA with Fast Mode
and Slow Down

Slotted Aloha (SA)

SA with Muting/Slow Down
SA with Early End and Muting
SA with Slow Down and Early End

Framed Slotted Aloha (FSA)

Basic framed slotted Aloha (BFSA)
Dynamic framed slotted Aloha (DFSA)
13 Enhanced Dynamic framed slotted Aloha (EDFSA)
In pure Aloha based RFID systems, a tag responds with its
ID randomly after being energized by a reader
Pure Aloha Variants

PA with Muting
The number of tags in a readers
interrogation zone is muted after
PA with Muting
each successful tag response

PA with Slow Down

A tag is instructed to slow down to
reduce its rate of transmissions after
each successful tag response

PA with Slow down
Pure Aloha Variants

PA with Fast Mode

A silence command is sent by the reader

once it has detected the start of a tag

Pure Aloha with Fast Mode and Muting


PA with Fast Mode and Slow Down .. PA with Fast Mode

In Slotted Aloha (SA) based RFID systems, tags transmit
their ID in synchronous time slots
The collision occurs at slots boundary only, hence there are no
partial collisions

Variants of Slotted Aloha

SA with Muting/Slow Down
SA with Early End and Muting
SA with Slow Down and Early End

Slotted Aloha variants

SA with Muting/Slow Down

The principle operation is similar to PA
with muting/slow down, but operates
in a slotted manner

SA with Early End

If no transmission is detected at the
beginning of a slot, the reader closes
the slot early

SA with Early End and Muting

This combines early end with the
muting feature

SA with Slow Down and Early End

This combines slow down with the early
end feature SA with Early End
Frame Slotted Aloha protocols mandate that each tag
responds only once per frame

In PA and SA based systems, a tag with Basic Frame Slotted Aloha (BFSA)
a high response rate will frequently The frame size is fixed throughout
collide with potentially valid responses the reading process
from other tags

BFSA has four variants

BFSA-non muting BFSA-non-muting-early-end and

A tag is required to transmit its ID in BFSA-muting-early end
each read round The reader closes a slot early if no
response is detected at the
BFSA-muting beginning of a slot
Tags are silenced after identification

Dynamic Frame Slotted Aloha protocols vary the
frame sizes to adapt to the number of tags

DFSA variants based on the tag

DFSA operates in multiple rounds, and it can estimation functions
also incorporate the early-end feature
a.Vogt [18][19]
b. Zhen et al. [16]
c.Cha et al. [17]
In each read round, the reader uses a tag d. Khandelwal et al. [20]
estimation function to vary its frame size e. Floerkemeier [21][22]
f. Kodialam et al. [25]
g. Chen et al. [23]
h. Q protocol [24]

EDFSA was proposed to overcome the limitation of the
maximum frame size available in DFSA

A limitation of DFSA variants is that the frame size is bounded

to a maximum value of 256 or 512

To solve this problem, Lee et. al [26] proposed EDFSA in which

tags are divided into M groups if the tag population is larger
than the maximum frame size available

The reading delay of pure/slotted Aloha variants shows the
following pattern

Reading delay of pure/slotted Aloha variants

The reading delay of framed Aloha variants shows the
following pattern

Reading delay of Framed Aloha variants

The most suitable protocol depends largely upon the

If low cost and complexity is desired, then

pure Aloha variants are suitable

DFSA variants are ideal if high speed,

accuracy, and efficiency are of concern

Tree based protocols are able to single out and read every
tag, provided each tag has a unique ID

All tree based protocols require tags to have muting

capability, as tags are silenced after identification

Categories of tree based algorithms

Tree splitting (TS)
Query tree (QT)
Binary search (BS)
Bitwise arbitration (BTA)

TS protocols operate by splitting responding tags into
multiple subsets using a random number generator
Tree Splitting Algorithms

Basic Tree Splitting (BTS)

Tags counter in the BTS algorithm

The reader uses nine timeslots to identify all four tags

Tree Splitting Algorithms

Adaptive Binary Tree Splitting

ABTS achieves fast identification by
reducing collisions and idle slots

Tags have two counters,

Progressed Slot Counter (PSC) and Allocated Slot Counter (ASC)

A tag is allowed to transmit when its ASC and PSC are equal.

Query Tree Algorithms

In TS variants, tags require a random number generator and a counter to track

their tree position, thus making them costly and computationally complex

Query tree algorithms overcome these problems by storing tree construction

information at the reader, and tags only need to have a prefix matching circuit

Variants of Query Tree Algorithm

Query Tree: Law et al. [27]
Adaptive Query Tree (AQT) : Myung et al. [28][29]
Improved QT (IQT): Zhou et al. [30]
QT based reservation (QTR): Choi et al. [31]
Randomized Hashing Query Tree (RH-QT): Bonuccelli et al. [32]
Intelligent Query Tree (IQT): [33]

Example of QT Algorithm

Readers stack for QT Algorithm

Extensions to QT Protocol

It reduces QTs identification delay by removing redundant queries

Aggressive enhancement
Queries are appended with multiple bits, instead of a single bit

The reader has prior knowledge of tag IDs, thereby allowing the
reader to group tags according to predefined prefixes

QT-sl (Query-tree short-long) protocol

The reader separates tag responses into short and long queries
Binary Search algorithm

The reader transmites a serial

number to tags to compare with
their ID

Those tags with ID equal to or

lower than the serial number

The reader then monitors tags

reply bit by bit and once a collision
occurs, the reader splits tags into
subsets based on collided bits The BS algorithm

Variants of BS Algorithm

Enhanced - BS algorithm (EBSA)

EBSA does not restart the reading process after a tag is

Dynamic BS algorithm (DBSA)

The reader and tags do not use the entire length of serial
number and tags ID during the identification process

Bitwise Arbitration Algorithms

BTA algorithms operate by requesting tags to respond bit

by bit from the MSB to the LSB of their ID

Bit replies are synchronized, meaning multiple tags

responses of the same bit value result in no collision

A collision is observed only if two tags

respond with different bit values

Moreover, the reader has to specify

the bit position it wants to read

Variants of BTA

ID-Binary Tree Stack (ID-BTS)

Bit-by-bit (BBT)
Modified bit by bit binary tree (MBBT)
Enhanced bit by bit binary tree (EBBT)
Bit query (BQ)

Comparison of Tree Protocols

Those protocols using BTA require tags to respond

bit by bit, hence are the most complex in terms of
reader and tag hardware requirements

QT protocols promise the simplest tag design

Hybrid protocols are a new branch of tag reading protocols
that combine the advantages of tree and Aloha protocols

Most hybrid protocols combine the

QT protocol with an Aloha variant

QT helps a reader to separate tags into smaller

groups, thereby reducing contention

Each group can then be read using

a tree or an Aloha variant

Hybrid Protocols

Tree Slotted Aloha (TSA)

Hybrid Query Tree (HQT) Protocol
HQT variant
Framed Query Tree algorithm
Query Tree ALOHA algorithm
Hybrid Randomized Protocol
Multi Slotted (MS) scheme
MS with Selective Sleep (MSS)
MS with Assigned Slot (MAS)
Hash-Tree Protocol

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows people
and things to be CONNECTED

The IoT allows people and things to be

connected Anytime, Anyplace, with
Anything and Anyone, ideally using Any
path/network and Any service

This implies context where there is

seamless interconnection between
people and things and/or between

Internet of Things

37 Source: Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap, CERP-IoT, 2010

Internet of Things is an integrated
part of Future Internet
IoT is a dynamic global network infrastructure with self configuring
capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols

In the IoT, physical and virtual things have identities, physical attributes,
and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces

The physical and virtual things are seamlessly integrated into the
information network

38 Source: Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap, CERP-IoT, 2010

In the IoT, things are expected to become active
participants in business, information and social processes

In IoT, things are enabled to interact

and communicate among
themselves and with the
environment by exchanging data
and information sensed about the

Things should react autonomously

to the real/physical world events
with or without direct human

39 Source: Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap, CERP-IoT, 2010

IoT is consists of the following components


Identificaiton Sensors

Localization Internet
and Tracking of Things Actuators

Processing Storage


40 Source: Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap, CERP-IoT, 2010

IoT is envisioned as a network of a billion people
interacting with a million e-businesses, with a trillion
intelligent devices interconnected

By 2015 there will be 1 trillion

sensors linking the physical
and digital worlds merging to
become an Internet of

List of applications is limited

only by our imagination

41 Source: Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap, CERP-IoT, 2010

The emerging applications of smart wireless
systems is limited only by our imagination

Real Virtual and Digital Worlds

43 Source: Virtual Reality System: University of Tokyo

RFID in the Office and Buildings

Sensor data collection

Exploit moving nodes
Exploit network coding for efficiency

Intelligent buildings
RFID integration

Real virtual and digital healthcare

Mobile cardiac telemetry monitoring platform

24/7/365 patient freedom to go anywhere at anytime

RFID for Intervehicular Communication

RFID for communication between V2V, V2I, I2V

Vehicle Identification System

To determine if a vehicle
registration has expired
To monitor traffic and vehicle
speed in construction zones
or other pertinent areas
Ticketing parking

WSN RFID in Oil and Gas Industry

Wireless instrumentation for

Installations in remote and
hostile areas
Temporary installations
Ease of scalability
Redundant data collection for
production optimization

RFID and WSN for

Drilling tools
Maintenance Source: StatoilHydro
Roads Bridges and RFID

The strain sensing system uses

13.56MHz passive-type sensor-
integrated RFID

The system measures the changes and

deformation caused by various types of
deterioration and loading on the structure,
without using a battery sensor
RFID tag

Source: Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.

Roads Bridges and RFID

Embedded RFID sensor is

integrated within the concrete

Measurements are possible at a

strain resolution level of about
Efficient maintenance and management
Using a thermistor, the system of roads, bridges and public housing
simultaneously measures
Concrete and steel structures monitoring
temperature and can account for due to everyday traffic, wind and earth
deformation caused by pressure and earthquakes
Source: Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.

Intelligent long range active RFID systems are
being used in real time location systems

They can identify, locate and track

assets at a distance of up to 100m

They can deliver superior real time visibility

in dynamic, demanding environments

RFID Security Issues

The problems of authentication and privacy
are fundamental to RFID security

RFID is poised to become one of the sensory organs of our

computing networks

The integrity of the data collected by RFID systems and

appropriate curbs on the technologys X-ray power are essential

The Consumer Privacy Problem

Bad readers, good tags

Mr. Jones Wig
Replacement hip model #4456
medical part

Das Kapital and

party handbook

1500 Euros
in wallet
Serial no.:
30 items 597387,389473
of lingerie

53 Source RSA Laboratories

The authentication problem

Good readers, bad tags

Mr. Jones

Replacement hip
medical part #459382 Mr. Joness car!

1500 Euros
in wallet
Mad-cow Serial numbers:
hamburger 597387,389473
lunch Counterfeit!
RFID can possibly be used for more efficient mugging

Just in case you

want to know, shes
got 700 Euro and
a Rolex

RFID is a technology with great promise, but it
invites numerous security and privacy issues

Deployed naively, embedding of RFID tags in consumer items

can present a serious danger to privacy and security of
consumers and enterprises in the future

Technical Approaches to Enhancing RFID Privacy

Pseudonym rotation
The Blocker Tag
Polite Blocking
Personal Simulator or Proxy for RFID etc..

List of Recent Survey Papers and Tutorials: RFID Anti
Collision Protocols, RFID Security, IoT, Applications
RFID Anti-Collision Protocols

[1] D. K. Klair, K Chin and R. Raad, A Survey and Tutorial of RFID Anti-Collision
Protocols, IEEE Communications Survey & Tutorials, Volume: 12, Issue 3, pp. 400
- 421

[2] Thomas F. La Porta, Gaia Maselli, and Chiara Petrioli, "Anti-collision protocols
for single-reader rfid systems: temporal analysis and optimization", IEEE
Transaction on Mobile Computing

RFID Security and Applications

[3] A. Juels and S. Weis, Defining Strong Privacy for RFID, Extended abstract in
PerTec 07

*4+ S. Garfinkel, B. Rosenberg, RFID: Applications, Security, and Privacy,

List of Recent Survey Papers and Tutorials: RFID Anti
Collision Protocols, RFID Security, IoT, Applications
*5+ A. Juels, The Vision of Secure RFID, Proceedings of the IEEE. Aug., 2007

[6] T. S. Heydt-Benjamin, D. V. Bailey, K. Fu, A. Juels, and T. O'Hare,

Vulnerabilities in First Generation RFID enabled Credit Cards, Financial
Cryptography 2007.

*7+ B. Defend, K. Fu, and A. Juels, Cryptanalysis of Two Lightweight RFID

Authentication Schemes, PerSec 2007

[8] A. Juels, RFID Security and Privacy: A Research Survey, Journal of Selected
Areas in Communication (J-SAC) 2006

[9] Dong-Liang Wu, Ng, W.W.Y., Yeung, D.S., Hai-Lan Ding., A Brief Survey on
Current RFID Applications, International Conference on Machine Learning and
Cybernetics, 2009, pp. 2330 2335

*10+ A. Juels, R. Pappu, and B. Parno. Key Transport in Unidirectional Channels

58 with Applications to RFID Security. 2008
List of Recent Survey Papers and Tutorials: RFID Anti
Collision Protocols, RFID Security, IoT, Applications

[11] J. Halamka, A. Juels, A. Stubblefield, and J. Westhues. The Security

Implications of VeriChip Cloning. Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association (JAMIA), 2006

[12] D. Bailey, D. Boneh, E.-J. Goh, and A. Juels. Covert Channels in Privacy-
Preserving Identification Systems. In ACM CCS, 2007

*13+ J. Westhuess RFID cloning page: http://cq.cx.

Internet of Things

[14] SINTEF Publications


[15] Internet of Things, Strategic Research Roadmap

Specific References for Anti Collision Protocols for RFID
*16+ B. Zhen, M. Kobayashi, and M. Shimizu, Framed Aloha for multiple
RFID objects identification, IEICE-Transactions on Communications,
vol. E88-B, pp. 991999, 2005

*17+ J.R. Cha and J.H. Kim, Novel anti-collision algorithms for fast object
identification in RFID system, in The 11th Intl. Conference on Parallel
and Distributed Systems, (Korea), pp. 6367, 2005

*18+ H. Vogt, Multiple object identification with passive RFID tags, in The IEEE Intl. Conf.
on Man and Cybernetics, (Tunisia), pp. 613, 2002

*19+ H. Vogt, Efficient object identification with passive RFID tags, in IEEE PerCom, (TX,
USA), 2002

*20+ G. Khandelwal, A. Yener, K. Lee, and S. Serbetli, ASAP: a MAC

protocol for dense and time constrained RFID systems, in IEEE International Conference on
Communications (ICC06), (Istanbul, Turkey), 2006

Specific References for Anti Collision Protocols for RFID

*21+ C. Floerkemeier and M.Wille, Comparison of transmission schemes for

framed Aloha based RFID protocols, in Proc. International Symposium
on Applications on Internet Workshops, (Phoenix, AZ, USA), 2006

*22+ C. Floerkemeier, Transmission control scheme for fast RFID object

identification, in The 4th Annual Intl. Conference on Pervasive Computing
and Communications Workshops, (Pisa, Italy), 2006.

[23] W.-T. Chen and G.-H. Lin, An efficient anti-collision method for RFID
system, in IEICE Trans. Commun., vol. E89, no. B, pp. 33863392, 2006

*24+ A. Technology, EPCglobal class 1 gen 2 RFID specifications.

Whitepaper. http://www.alientechnology.com/docs/AT wp EPCGlobal

*25+ M. Kodialam and T. Nandagopal, Fast and reliable estimation schemes

in RFID systems, in SIGMOBILE: ACM Special Interest Group on
Mobility of Systems, Users, Data and Computing, pp. 322333, 2006

Specific References for Anti Collision Protocols for RFID

*26+ S.R. Lee, S.D. Joo, and C.W. Lee, An enhanced dynamic framed slotted Aloha
algorithm for RFID tag identification, in The 2nd Intl. Annual Conference on Mobile and
Ubiquitous Systems: Networking and Services, (San Diego, USA), pp. 166172, 2005

[27] C. Law, K. Lee, and K.-Y. Siu, Efficient memoryless protocol for tag identification
(extended abstract), in Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Discrete
Algorithms and Methods for Mobile Computing and Communications, (Toronto, CA), pp.
7584, Aug. 2000

*28+ J. Myung, W. Lee, and T. Shih, An adaptive memoryless protocol for RFID tag
collision arbitration, IEEE Trans. Multimedia, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 10961101, 2006

*29+ J. Myung and W. Lee, An adaptive memoryless tag anti-collision protocol for RFID
networks, in the 24th IEEE Annual Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM
2005), (Miami, USA), Mar. 2005

*30+ F. Zhou, C. Chen, D. Jin, C. Huang, and H. Min, Evaluating and optimizing power
consumption of anti-collision protocols for applications in RFID systems, in Proc. 2004
international symposium on Low power electronics and design, pp. 357362, 2004
Specific References for Anti Collision Protocols for RFID

*31+ J. H. Choi, D. Lee, and H. Lee, Query tree-based reservation for efficient RFID tag anti-
collision, IEEE Commun. Lett., vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 8587, 2007

*32+ M. A. Bonuccelli, F. Lonetti, and F. Martelli, Randomized hashing for tag identification
in RFID networks, in Technical Report: Computer Communications and Networks, 2005

*33+ N. Bhandari, A. Sahoo, and S. Iyer, Intelligent query tree (IQT) protocol to improve
RFID tag read efficiency, in 9th International Conference on Information Technology
(ICIT06), pp. 4651, 2006

References for RFID Security Papers and News/Updates

Primers and current RFID news:

RSA Labs RFID Web site:

www.rfid-security.com (unofficial)

JHU/RSA RFID Web site:


New survey (and all papers described here) at


For a list of papers on RFID Security


In summary, an overview of RFID, IoT has been presented
with their applications and the associated security issues